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The Indiana Pacers picked up a much-needed win against the Orlando Magic on Monday night to even their seven-game series at one apiece. It was expected the Pacers would have their way with the Magic in their first round NBA Playoffs series, considering Orlando's missing Dwight Howard, but that obviously wasn't the case in the opening game.
It makes sense, then, that our friends over at Indy Cornrows didn't exactly act with elation when their team claimed the Game 2 victory. Instead, they look forward to the rest of the series:
It was hard to do anything but release a big sigh of relief as the clock hit 0:00 with the Pacers 93-78 winners. The unfortunate outcome of Game 1 needed to be completely behind Indiana, and with the way they won and did it convincingly, they appear to have done just that. Indiana will travel to Orlando to play Games 3 & 4 with the first of the two taking place Wednesday night. Indiana may not be in a must-win situation for Game 3, but they still need to take care of business and wrestle home court back from the Magic.
The recap at Indy Cornrows was quite in-depth, by the way, showing once again why SB Nation's collection of blogs is the best in the business. Honestly, where else can one read about jump ball differential?
In regards to length, quite possibly the biggest advantage to the Pacers has been in jump balls. It seems an extra-ordinate amount of jump balls have been whistled in this series, a testament to the hustle of both teams. The good news? The Pacers have come out winners of all but one jump ball in both games, which has helped Indiana to gain extra possessions or save current ones.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have allowed the Dallas Mavericks to hang in for quite awhile during the first two games of their seven-game series, but the final scoreboard has ended up in the favor of Kevin Durant's team on both occasions thus far. That's bad news for the aging Mavs and, according to their fans, it might be difficult to get out of the hole.
Dirk Nowitzki has been known to perform miracles in the past, but our friends over at Mavs Moneyball believe that Monday night's loss may have been the final nail in the coffin for Dallas' chances this season.
So like I mentioned above, I have to think that's it for the Mavericks. They'll get a game at home, but it's hard to see them recover from two emotionally draining losses like that, decided by a combined total of four points. I'm not counting them out just yet, because if any team can overcome adversity like this, it's a veteran team who still are the defending champions. These games certainly have shown that the Mavericks CAN beat the Thunder. But I don't have too much hope. Prove me wrong, damnit. I don't want basketball to be over for quite a while.
It's never good when the fanbase gives up hope with a potential five games left in the series, but it's tough to blame anyone for believing the Mavs may have already dug themselves too deep of a hole by not overcoming obstacles and taking at least one of two seemingly winnable games.
The New York Knicks lost another game to the Miami Heat on Monday night, causing them to fall into a 2-0 hole to begin the seven-game series. The worst part of that loss is probably the Amar'e Stoudemire incident that happened after the game, but none of it is especially pleasing for fans of the team that plays its home games at Madison Square Garden.
For the official reaction from the New York fanbase, however, we turn our attention to the always excellent Seth Rosenthal over at Posting and Toasting. His recaps are legendary and, even in a loss, he finds ways to make everyone smile (sheepishly, in disgust).
When he got the ball, Stoudemire did some lovely things on offense. He deftly slipped some screens and got himself some finishes around the basket and drawn fouls. On defense, he drifted a lot, failed to help, and failed to box out, but had one violent block of Chris Bosh at the rim. Nothing unusual. Then he smashed a pane of glass and split his hand open. That was unusual.
To New York we go, probably without Amar'e in uniform. We'll see how that goes. Even short-handed, it couldn't possibly suck as much as these past two games have sucked, right? Right!?!!?
The answer to Rosenthal's final question probably isn't going to be what he wants to hear, unfortunately. It'll be awfully difficult for the Knicks to make up for the loss of Stoudemire but, on the bright side, anything is probably possible at playoff time.
On Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks were once again in enemy territory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder held a 1-0 lead in their NBA playoffs matchup heading into Tuesday night's game against the defending NBA champions and were looking to move one step closer to the second round. It was a close one, but the Thunder were able to do just that, winning by a final score of 102-99 and going up 2-0 in the series.
The animosity between the two teams was apparent from the outset as both sides shoved and squabbled. The actual gameplay was just as intense, and the close contest was hard-fought right down to the end.
The Thunder held a lead for most of the first half, but the Mavs battled back in the second half and took a slim lead into the final minute, but a foul on Kevin Durant with 0:50 left put the Thunder back on top, 98-97. Dirk Nowitzki missed a 12-footer with 27 seconds remaining and the Thunder grabbed the rebound. James Harden sank both free throws to give OKC a three-point lead with just 25 seconds left.
Jason Terry put in a layup to cut the lead back to one point, but Harden again nailed his free throws. Terry had two chances to be the hero in the final seconds with a pair of desperation three-point attempts, but neither one fell. As you can see in the video below, he got his best look on the first attempt after pump-faking his defender, but it hit the front of the rim. The second attempt was more contested -- and came a few feet behind the arc -- but hit the heel of the rim.
Nowitzki had 31 points and six rebounds in the losing effort. Russell Westbrook put up 29 points for the Thunder while Durant had 26 points and 10 boards.
That didn't take long.
Come at me, bro @amareisreal— Fire Extinguisher (@AAAExtinguisher) May 1, 2012
It was pretty much all clicking for the Thunder: as is typical, Russell Westbrook had 15 points and Kevin Durant had 14. But then other stuff happened, as even role players chipped in with some offense. Kendrick Perkins had nine points -- and got into a little scuffle with Nowitzki -- while Derek Fisher hit some jumpers, including one with the clock expiring on the first quarter, and finished with eight. Those performances gave the Thunder a 16-point lead early in the second quarter.
But the Mavs fought back. Nowitzki had the typical Dirk stuff as well as some tough drives to the rim to cut the lead to as little as six. Jason Terry hit a three on the Mavs' last possession to cut the halftime lead to seven.
One of my favorite moments of the season was when Dirk Nowitzki celebrated hitting a game-tying shot in overtime against the Utah Jazz in a critical late-season game by sticking his tongue out. It was classic Nowitzki because he managed to look so goofy despite being completely locked in.
That Nowitzki has returned. With his Dallas Mavericks trailing by double digits in Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, Nowitzki scored 10 straight points to get them back into the game. Dallas only trails by seven points at halftime and is very much alive in this game, all thanks to Nowitzki going off when his team needed him most.
That accomplishment is worthy of the tongue wag.
The Thunder are leading, 46-30, and have converted eight Dallas turnovers into 14 of those points. So, keep lamenting, Rick. Keep lamenting.
The fine folks who populate Twitter are trying really, really, really hard to make jokes about Amar'e Stoudemire punching the glass that protected a fire extinguisher in the Knicks' locker room following their 104-94 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday. Most of them revolve around Stoudemire finally "crashing the glass," and that's lame. Several others are funnier. Here are our two favorites.
Carmelo taking care of the snitches. RT @SpearsNBAYahoo: Knicks guard JR Smith said he believes Amare received stitches on the injured hand.— Taco Trey Kerby (@treykerby) May 1, 2012
"SEASON: EXTINGUISHED" - New York Post headline tomorrow, probably.— Sean Highkin (@shighkinNBA) May 1, 2012
Somewhere, a New York Post headline writer is reading that last tweet and coming up with something even better.
In the first quarter, Dirk Nowitzki took exception to Serge Ibaka gently touching his face while he attempted a jumper. Nowitzki spent some time jawing with Ibaka following the play, which Ibaka shrugged off because it was largely incidental contact and Nowitzki has a history of enjoying loudly complaining about things. On the ensuing Thunder possession, however, Nowitzki got into an unnecessary shoving match with Kendrick Perkins under the boards and tempers flared over, earning both men a technical foul for their troubles. See the whole sequence of events in the video below.
Tempers certainly won't be cooling off any time soon, as this series still has a long way to go.
Pacers fans might have been worried after ugly offensive execution in the first game saw Indiana put up just 77 in a four-point loss, but their defense was strong enough to return the favor by holding an offensively challenged Orlando team to 78. Indiana struggled to shoot the ball - going 2-for-20 from deep - but strong offensive rebounding and efficient performances from Hill and Paul George were enough to make the victory comfortable.
Insta-reax from our team blogs:
Orlando got the split it wanted at least.— Evan Dunlap (@BQRMagic) May 1, 2012
George Hill gave 'em that Broad Ripple stroke for 3. Nice to see it return for Game 2.
— Tom Lewis (@IndyCornrows) May 1, 2012
Things have apparently gone from bad to worse for the New York Knicks. There was apparently a lot of commotion in the locker room following the team's 104-94 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, and the reason is because Amar'e Stoudemire reportedly hurt his hand punching a fire extinguisher in frustration. Via Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire cut his hand after punching hard surface in lockeroom, sources tell @YahooSports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 1, 2012
Stoudemire has struggled mightily since returning from a back injury, scoring just nine points in Game 2 and struggling on defense.
There's really not much to say: there was no defining moment, no superstar performance, no game-changing role player off the bench, no real goats: just the Miami Heat being better than the Knicks to the extent that Miami's second half lead never seemed in danger even as it never got out of hand.
Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh combined for 65 of the Heat's 104, with Wade and James each finishing their share of unnecessarily impossible-looking plays at the rim. Carmelo Anthony followed up on a 21-point first half to finish with 30, but nobody on the Knicks did enough to make a difference. (Although I see you, Baron Davis, with 12 points on some threes and flashy assists.)
Now the Knicks are down 0-2, and with their 12th consecutive playoff loss, tying a record for most in a row, set by the Grizzlies. With the seeming talent disparity between these squads, one wonders whether that streak will be snapped in this postseason or whether success-starved Knicks fans will have to wait yet another year.
Noteworthy GIFs and videos:
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are doing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade things as the Miami Heat continue to hold off the New York Knicks late in the third quarter. That made Erik Spoelstra happy, and he just had to do something about his happiness.
Those two Heat fans behind Spoelstra seem to be sharing his excitement.
Here's what led to the picture.
Carmelo Anthony led the way early with 15 first quarter points that allowed the Knicks to briefly take leads, but the Big Three is living up to the hype: 41 points on 25 shots for the three, 19 for Dwyane Wade and 11 apiece for LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
The game probably wouldn't qualify for "chippy" status, but it's definitely getting physical. The refs are letting a lot of stuff go, which has led to some ugly uncalled fouls, but some nice aggressive play from top athletes - Tyson Chandler in particular is thriving after suffering from the flu in the first game. He has four offensive boards and a monster putback dunk that earned him a tech mainly for its sheer ferocity.
It may seem like Chris Bosh doesn't dunk very much -- he's a softie, ammirite? -- but he actually had 66 jams this year, which was 19th in the league. Chances are that none of those 66 dunks looks as iffy as this one.
It counts for two points all the same, so Bosh will take it.
The NBA Playoffs continue with three Game 2s, including Mavs and Knicks teams looking for revenge.
Kevin Durant's game-winning shot gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a 1-0 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks heading into Monday's Game 2.
New York has to rebound from an embarrassing showing in Game 1.
The Magic won against a favored Pacers squad even without Dwight Howard. Can they pull it off twice?
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